Annual report shows increasing levels of compliance

 

17 October 2018

The Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) annual report, released today, shows an emerging shift towards improved levels of compliance among employer groups and unions. 

The Commission’s 2017/18 Annual Report shows that compliance rates for the lodgement of financial returns within the statutory timeframe have incrementally improved over three years.

The Commission bettered all of its timing targets in 2017-18, and comparison with previous years shows continuous improvement in the assessment of annual returns and dealing with elections, plus achievement of 100% timeliness for the assessment of financial reports. 

The ROC’s ability to meet or improve upon its timing targets means that documents lodged by organisations are promptly assessed and published, ensuring ‘real time’ transparency of lodged information, the report says. 

Registered Organisations Commissioner Mr Mark Bielecki said it was a most encouraging outcome given the significant level of work carried out by the ROC to encourage increased compliance by improving the governance and financial accountability of organisations through education and guidance. 

“We continue to make considerable progress by ensuring that organisations have access to the right tools and concise, readily accessible information so they are aware of their statutory obligations and can deliver best practice outcomes to their members,” Mr Bielecki said. 

“Significantly, our efforts have resulted in an improvement in compliance levels since the Commission commenced in May 2017, and have fostered good working relationships with the vast majority of organisations we work with.” 

In 2017-18, 107 organisations were registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 and consisted of about 376 reporting units - a branch or national office of an organisation required to lodge audited financial reports with the ROC. 

Organisations report that they have over two million members, control more than $2.8 billion in total assets and have combined revenue in the order of $1.5 billion. 

In 2017-18, the scope of education activity rolled out by the ROC included information workshops in Parramatta and Melbourne. Subsequent sessions in 2018-19 have since been held in Darwin and Perth with another scheduled for Brisbane in November.  

At these sessions, the ROC launched education and compliance tools including an Officers Induction Kit, an interactive compliance calculator and a range of resources to aid compliance. To date, around 300 people from almost three quarters of all registered organisations have attended the sessions. 

Other initiatives included a helpline to advise on new corrupting benefits provisions, newsletters and a subscription service for more than 800 subscribers. To supplement this, the ROC has since launched its national 2018-19 Education Strategy which for the first time schedules major education activities a year in advance so organisations can plan how they will meet their education needs or upskill.  

In 2017-18, the ROC issued in excess of 1400 reminders and alerts to help organisations meet their statutory compliance timelines and provided a range of tools and on-line information, with almost 30,000 documents being downloaded from the ROC website. 

The ROC also delivered six broad-based education campaigns for organisations and their members on topics such as whistleblowing, changes to reporting guidelines and refresher information about regulatory obligations. Five webinars on annual returns, officer and related party disclosures and corrupting benefits attracted over 500 participants.

Other outcomes for the ROC in 2017-18 included:  

  • Ninety-nine per cent of reporting units lodged financial returns on time in 2017-18
  • Applying the new legislative scheme for the registration of auditors, registering 267 auditors  
  • Augmenting a co-ordinated regulatory approach to whistleblower disclosures, receiving 86 potentially protected disclosures (now in excess of 100)
  • Commencing six inquiries and four investigations, as well as concluding six inquiries and three investigations
  • Concluding 1446 regulatory matters, and progressing 11 referrals made by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption 
  • Progressing three civil litigation proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia, and commencing a further two proceedings

 “Looking forward we remain committed to continuing to engage with organisations and fostering good governance, a culture of transparency and high standards of accountability to members,” said Mr Bielecki.

 

Media contact:   Greg Russo - (03) 9603 0767 or greg.russo@roc.gov.au